Post exclusively written for whatisbluesky.com by Birdine Johnsie
Most people tend to think of healthcare professionals as being financially stable,
and sometimes that’s precisely the case. However, it’s also not a given, and there are numerous reasons that people working in today’s healthcare system should devote particular attention to their financial wellness. Let's consider the following points that impact healthcare staff and medical workers today.
When switching to work at a facility instead of a private practice, you may experience less independence.
A few years back we remarked on physicians becoming hospital employees — a growing trend at the expense of private practices. As we mentioned, this is a development coming about partly because of healthcare professionals’ desire for better work-life balance and less investment in their own businesses. There is some stability that comes with working for a hospital or other medical facility. However, it also means less independence; workers in this situation won’t have the same flexibility to manage resources or scale their own salaries, and should thus be more mindful of how they’re managing what they make.
As time goes on, there are greater burdens that come with the profession.
Today’s doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are beginning their careers under greater burdens than those of generations past. To that point, studies have indicated that in Gen Y (aka the millennial generation), 74% of healthcare workers are concerned about having enough money to pay their bills. This is due to crippling student debt, for the most part, and also highlights the need for a focus on financial wellness.
Could it really be an inherent mismanagement of finances though?
Take this idea with a grain of salt, because it’s certainly not true in every case. However, it’s not an uncommon idea that the very traits that can make someone a successful healthcare professional can also lead to poor financial management. That is to say, for instance, that some doctors will acknowledge that things like an ability to rationalize decisions or a habit of outsourcing smaller tasks can lead to some carelessness on the financial front. Again, it’s not always true, but it’s something for healthcare professionals to bear in mind, and another reason to be careful financially.
Given these notes, we would suggest that financial wellness should be a primary focus, rather than an afterthought, for today’s healthcare professionals. While a given doctor or nurse might be perfectly brilliant managing finances, it’s not at all uncommon for people in these professions to struggle in this area. Accordingly, we’re providing a few starter tips below that might help some to establish better financial wellness.
Overcome Those Inherent Issues
Regarding some of the inherent issues mentioned above, it’s a good idea to be aware of and overcome them if in fact they seem to be causing problems. This is essentially a mental exercise that comes down to self-assessment (and being honest with yourself). But recognizing any sort of poor financial management that can be linked to a given trait you would ordinarily count as positive or necessary can be important. From there you can look to adjust your mindset or habits accordingly.
Know How To Obtain A Personal Loan
We noted above that many people simply think of healthcare professionals as having financial stability. This thinking can apply to the healthcare professionals themselves as well. Accordingly, many working in the field may simply never have imagined ever needing a loan. However, if such a need arises (in the course of paying off debts, purchasing a home, or if an unforeseen expense emerges), it's a good idea for healthcare professionals to know their options. Learning how to apply for a personal loan is not a particularly complicated process, but it does require familiarity with some specific steps. Namely, these include knowing how to access a personal credit score, knowing where to research and compare options, and finding out what to look for in the fine print. Covering these basics will have anyone prepared in advance if the need to secure a personal loan arises.
Focus on Physical Fitness
In addition to being under financial burdens, today’s up-and-coming healthcare workers also tend to be overworked. That’s not entirely unique to Gen Y, but it’s certainly a problem that seems only to be intensifying with time. And unfortunately, people who are overworked are also less likely to find time to work on their own health — which believe it or not can be a negative in the financial department as well. Some studies have indicated that better fitness can actually lead to higher pay. More commonly though, exercise simply results in stress relief, which in turn can help one to approach financial decisions more rationally. Ultimately, exercise alone won’t do much for your finances — but for a particularly stressed and overworked generation of healthcare workers, it’s a more important part of the process than we give it credit for.
Budget Like Anyone Else Would
There can be a temptation among healthcare workers to feel stable, even with the aforementioned financial burdens hanging over them. While it is rightly a point of discussion that many in this industry (particularly nurses) are underpaid, these are still desirable careers with promising long-term prospects. Managing finances is still extremely important for people in these fields of work, not just in the long term, but on a day-to-day basis. It’s a simple recommendation, but we would still suggest that anyone working in healthcare ought to try out a few budgeting apps and find one that works. They’re actually incredibly helpful tools for keeping an eye on spending habits and savings.
Tackle Debt Aggressively
To wrap up with a more specific recommendation, today’s healthcare workers should also focus on tackling debt aggressively. Particularly for people just starting their careers, and for whom investing and saving can be appealing alternatives, knocking out student debt can make a world of difference in one’s financial wellness. It’s just one strategy, but we’d suggest taking a look at the debt snowball method, which is essentially the practice of addressing the smallest balances most aggressively. That seems counterintuitive to some, but the idea is to eliminate interest as quickly as possible so as to lessen the mounting burden of debt. Even if this isn’t how you do it though, focusing primarily on debt can pay off later in the form of greater financial freedom and flexibility.
The good news is that with a strategic approach of this nature, today’s healthcare workers can ultimately put themselves in strong financial positions. It may take time, and it will certainly require focus and some adjustments. Stay diligent, the notes and tips above can help you start the process on the right foot!